My Favorite Herbals

I have become caffeine sensitive as I get older so around mid-afternoon I have to leave my beloved tea behind and turn to an herbal beverage to enjoy. My number one favorite, hot or iced, is South African Rooibos. A bush that is grown in the Cedarberg mountain area of South Africa, the leaves are harvested and processed much like the tea plant, camellia sinensis. Its name, rooibos, means “red bush” in Afrikaans. When the leaves are allowed to oxidize like black tea, they turn a beautiful reddish color.

Oxidation of the leaf means that the leaves are spread out and exposed to the air thus turning them darker. Green rooibos, like green tea, is not allowed to oxidize. For a more scientific explanation of the process, click here.

RooibosThe color of the hot tea is a dark, reddish brown and looks a lot like certain types of black tea. It has a full herbaceous body with flavor notes of spice, citrus and vanilla. It is strong enough for the addition of milk but I usually enjoy it plain. In addition to tasting really good, it is reputed to have all sorts of health benefits.

When the weather turns hot like it has here in New England the last few days, I use the cold steeping method to create iced rooibos. Simply fill a container with fresh cold spring water and then add one tablespoon of rooibos leaves for every 6 ounces of water. Steep the leaves overnight in the fridge and then strain into another container in the morning. I love to drink this full strength but others prefer to dilute this with water and ice. You can float lemon or orange slices in it to add more of a citrus flavor. Yummy and refreshing!

Another favorite is called “Sweet Coconut Thai” made by Celestial Seasonings. Amongst other spices and natural flavors, it contains rooibos! It is all natural, no sugar added and caffeine free. It tastes like Chai tea with a hint of a coconut flavor note. I love coconut so this is heaven in an herbal teacup for me. I found it in the tea section of my local grocery store and it comes in a box of 20 tea bags.

What are your favorite herbals?

This entry was posted in Tea.

7 comments on “My Favorite Herbals

  1. Jen says:

    Hi Karen,

    I’ve been enjoying your blog, and as you know, I love many of the same things that you do, including tea and beads.

    Tonight I had my three boys over for Sunday dinner, (a rare occasion that they are all around at the same time, but now Geoff is home from the base in CA, and Jon is home from school for a few days!) And of course my daughter-in-law and grandbaby were here, too.

    Since it was a hot day, I thought I’d offer a refreshing alternitive to the usual glasses of milk or OJ, so I made a delicious herbal iced tea. I used a combo of Green Rooibos, Raspberry Fruit Tea, and a bit of Darjeeling Oolong to round it out. I brew it hot double strength, let it cool and pour it over a full glass of ice. It is a favorite blend of mine.

    Your bead and tea buddy, Jen

  2. Toine says:

    Hi Karen,

    I always enjoy reading your blog.

    Thanks for the tip on making herbal iced tea with Rooibos. Which other herbal teas would make great iced tea? I will definitely try that Sweet Coconut Thai you mention, as I love coconut also.


  3. Acey says:

    Hi Karen thanks for your kind and encouraging remarks on my blog. My favorite herbal tea is actually oats. I love them mixed with red clover blossoms. Mmmmmmm

  4. Frivolitea says:

    Hello! I am so glad to have discovered your blog. We share two important interests – art and tea! Your ideas for iced herbals sound wonderful. I drink black tea in the morning and then oolong or green in the afternoon. I stay away from tea in the evening – switching to wine at 5 or 6. Oh and I forgot to mention that I also drink sweet iced tea – since I am from the south. I look forward to visiting again!

  5. artandtea says:

    Thank you all for your comments! Jen, your blend sounds so inventive and delicious. Thanks bead & tea buddy. 🙂 Toine, I think that any tea or herbal would make a great iced tea, depending upon your personal taste. What fruit flavors do you enjoy! How about mints or chamomile? You can also experiment with blending to find a new taste sensation! Acey, a blend of oats and red clover blossoms sound so interesting. I am enjoying watching your BJP progress. Frivolitea, I’m so glad you found my blog, too. Welcome, old and new friends!

  6. […] favorite herbal is South African Rooibos. I’ve written a little about it here and here. This morning’s tea is called Poire Creme, a green Rooibos decorated with sunflower […]

  7. […] at Target and some organic green South African Rooibos. I’ve written about this herbal before here and […]

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